Downtown Multipurpose Stadium

Working with Boyd Sports, GEM Associated Architects (a group that includes BMA) has completed concept designs for a new multipurpose stadium development on the east side of Downtown Knoxville. The development also includes surrounding and contiguous retail, office space, condominiums, and apartments. 

The stadium would be home to the AA Tennessee Smokies baseball team and One Knoxville Sporting Club’s soccer team. It would seat roughly 7,000 people for sports events, and with seating on the field, could seat 15,000 for concerts. The stadium would host up to 200 events a year, including sporting events, concerts, local markets, festivals, and other events. 

The design carefully considers the challenges and aspirations of the site — particularly pedestrian and visual connectivity between the Old City and East Knoxville. These connections are a purposeful part of the design, intended to reconnect to downtown the predominantly Black and minority neighborhoods that were demolished and separated during Urban Renewal. GEM Associated Architects and Boyd Sports have worked closely with community leaders, the Beck Cultural Exchange Center, and Knoxville Area Urban League on meaningful connections that will hopefully encourage grassroots restoration of these communities. 

As designed, the stadium’s surrounding development would extend retail down Jackson Avenue, past the James White Parkway overpass, expanding the current footprint of downtown and encouraging entrepreneurial development into East Knoxville. A new, quick-turning bus stop will be nearby, as will greenway connectors to the Urban Wilderness and Austin Homes. 

The stadium will be ringed with buildings that house retail, offices, and residences, and that are designed to extend the visual aesthetic of the historic buildings in the Old City. Entrances to the stadium are oriented to pedestrian, not vehicular, traffic. The west entry, from the Old City, will include a large plaza akin to Market Square. The east entry, from Florida Street, will feature another pedestrian plaza and artifacts of the history of baseball in Knoxville, including the Knoxville Giants Negro League Baseball team. 

Surrounding buildings will have green roofs and entertainment decks that allow residents and occupants to watch sporting events and concerts from their homes or offices. The stadium’s 360-degree concourse will accommodate multiple concessions and themed entertainment areas mixed throughout several seating options. 

BarberMcMurry and Design Innovation Architects comprise GEM Associated Architects. Populous is the project’s stadium designer.

Type: New Construction

Location: Knoxville, Tennessee

Services: Architecture

Use: Recreational